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1989 Kansas City Chiefs season

The 1989 Kansas City Chiefs season was the franchise's 20th season in the National Football League, the 30th overall and the first under head coach Marty Schottenheimer and general manager Carl Peterson. They improved on their 4-11-1 record from 1988 and finished with an 8-7-1 record. The Chiefs did not qualify for the playoffs in for the third straight year but did send four players to the Pro Bowl.

1989 Kansas City Chiefs season
Head coachMarty Schottenheimer
Home fieldArrowhead Stadium
Division place2nd AFC West
Playoff finishdid not qualify
Pro BowlersFB Christian Okoye
LB Derrick Thomas
CB Kevin Ross
CB Albert Lewis


The Chiefs had changed coaches before, but never had the organization gone through the complete overhaul it did between the 1988 and 1989 seasons. On December 19, 1988, Lamar Hunt hired Carl Peterson as the team's new president/general manager. Peterson wasted no time in making changes. On January 5 he fired head coach Frank Gansz two weeks after taking over. On January 24 he hired Marty Schottenheimer, who was fired by Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell. Schottenheimer also cleaned house and with Peterson's help by making several roster changes.


The Chiefs started the season at Denver on September 10 but the Chiefs lost the opener, 34–20. The very next Sunday the Chiefs downed the Los Angeles Raiders 24–19, Schottenheimer's first win as Chiefs' head coach.

The Chiefs would start the season 1–4, but soon turned things around. On October 22, Christian Okoye carried the ball 33 times for 170 yards as the Chiefs defeated the Dallas Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium, 36–28. During the Chiefs unexpected success, rookie linebacker Derrick Thomas made 10 sacks while Stephone Paige led the receivers with 44 receptions.

On November 26, Kansas City cruised past the Houston Oilers, 34–0 to start a 3-game winning streak to give themselves a chance to make the playoffs. Steve DeBerg passed for 2,529 yards in his second season with the team.

On December 17, using a bruising running game and a smothering defense, the San Diego Chargers marched into Arrowhead Stadium and crushed the Chiefs' playoffs dreams. They bulldozed their way to 219 yards rushing, 176 by Marion Butts, and won 20–13. The all but eliminated the Chiefs from any chance of making the playoffs. Christian Okoye constantly found his path blocked, holes jammed. Chiefs' quarterback Steve DeBerg was ineffective because of the chilling 18-degree weather and completed just 14 of 33 passes. The Chiefs had one final opportunity to tie the game, driving from their own 36 yard line to the San Diego 19. Deberg's next pass into the end zone was intercepted, ending the Chiefs' chances and the game. The loss Left the Chiefs Needing a win at Miami combined with a Pittsburgh Loss in final week to make the playoffs.

The next week, the Chiefs did bounce back and defeated the Miami Dolphins for the second time in the season, 27–24 and had their first winning record in the Schottenheimer-Peterson era. Pittsburgh however won their game and final AFC Playoff spot. Christian Okoye led the NFL in rushing with 1,480 yards. Okoye was named to the Pro Bowl along with defensive stars Derrick Thomas, Albert Lewis and Kevin Ross. This season proved to be a prelude of good things to come.


NFL draftEdit

1989 Kansas City Chiefs draft
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 4 Derrick Thomas *   Linebacker Alabama
2 32 Mike Elkins  Quarterback Wake Forest
3 60 Naz Worthen  Wide receiver North Carolina State
4 88 Stan Petry  Defensive back TCU
6 143 Robb Thomas  Wide receiver Oregon State
7 171 Ron Sancho  Linebacker LSU
8 199 Bryan Tobey  Running back Grambling State
8 220 Todd McNair  Running back Temple
9 227 Jack Phillips  Defensive back Alcorn State
10 255 Rob McGovern  Linebacker Holy Cross
11 283 Marcus Turner  Defensive back UCLA
12 311 Bill Jones  Running back Texas State
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career




1989 Kansas City Chiefs staff
Front office
  • Founder – Lamar Hunt
  • Chairman of the Board – Jack Steadman
  • President/General Manager/Chief Executive Officer – Carl Peterson
  • Assistant General Manager – Dennis Thum
  • Director of Player Personnel – Whitey Dovell

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning


1989 Kansas City Chiefs roster

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad

Rookies in italics


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 10, 1989 at Denver Broncos L 34–20
2 September 17, 1989 Los Angeles Raiders W 24–19
3 September 24, 1989 at San Diego Chargers L 21–6
4 October 1, 1989 Cincinnati Bengals L 21–6
5 October 8, 1989 at Seattle Seahawks W 20–16
6 October 15, 1989 at Los Angeles Raiders L 20–14
7 October 22, 1989 Dallas Cowboys W 36–28
8 October 29, 1989 at Pittsburgh Steelers L 23–17
9 November 5, 1989 Seattle Seahawks W 20–10
10 November 12, 1989 Denver Broncos L 16–13
11 November 19, 1989 at Cleveland Browns T 10–10
12 November 26, 1989 Houston Oilers W 34–0
13 December 3, 1989 Miami Dolphins W 26–21
14 December 10, 1989 at Green Bay Packers W 21–3
15 December 17, 1989 San Diego Chargers L 20–13
16 December 24, 1989 at Miami Dolphins W 27–24


AFC West
Denver Broncos(1) 11 5 0 .688 6–2 9–3 362 226 L1
Kansas City Chiefs 8 7 1 .531 3–5 6–7–1 307 286 W1
Los Angeles Raiders 8 8 0 .500 3–5 6–6 315 297 L2
Seattle Seahawks 7 9 0 .438 4–4 7–5 241 327 L1
San Diego Chargers 6 10 0 .375 4–4 4–8 266 290 W2


  1. ^ "1989 Kansas City Chiefs draftees". Retrieved December 8, 2014.